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July 18, 2016

Mr. Robot – S2 Ep 1 & 2 Review – “unm4sk-pt1/”

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Written by: Joel Reaves
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Anything I could say about Mr. Robot season 1, you’re already thinking – “It was the best show on TV last year;” “Rami Malek is so hot;” “How do we make this happen in real life so I don’t have to pay off all my credit cards!?”  If you don’t know anything about the series it stars Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a schizophrenic hacker that wipes out the global consumer debt by taking down the mega-corporation known as E-Corp and Christian Slater who plays Mr. Robot, Elliot’s schizophrenic alter ego who ends up also being his father.


The series’ second season premiered July 13th, releasing the first two episodes simultaneously.  The show picks up with Elliot living back at home with his mother, subjecting himself to a strict, boring-as-hell regimen of no technology and having a tight routine of day to day activities to hold Mr. Robot at bay.  This all seems to be working fine-and-dandy, for a few scenes at least, until Mr. Robot reappears, tormenting Elliot to begin hacking again all while keeping the whereabouts of the missing Tyrell a secret.  Darlene is still running fsociety but this time their HQ isn’t a run down arcade – they’ve hacked into an E-Corp executive’s smart house, kicking her out and squatting in the mean time.  Darlene and fsociety launch another hack on E-Corp (because one hack is never enough) and black mail their CTO into publicly burning 5.9 million dollars in an fsociety mask that has been generously provided to him.

We finally catch up with Angela, who’s climbing up the E-Corp ladder all willy-nilly, having seemingly dropped the lawsuit against them.  Good riddance.  Then the show really starts to get juicy when a local from Elliot’s neighborhood (Craig Robinson) claims they had a conversation about Elliot helping him with a hacking gig… that Elliot doesn’t remember.  Elliot fears that while he’s been keeping Mr. Robot at bay during the day, that the hours he can’t account for (when he’s asleep) are being controlled by Mr. Robot.  Adding to the juicy-ness is Elliot’s old boss Gideon (Michel Gill), who’s threatening to call the FBI.  This threat doesn’t last long as the two-episode premiere ends with Gideon being shot through the neck at point blank (brutal) by a stranger in a bar.  That’s still pretty juicy too, though, so I’m not complaining.


Among the new cast members who’ve been added this season (Craig Robinson being one of them) I would say the break out performance comes from one my favorite rappers (yes, I see the bias) Joey Badass. Badass plays Leon, a new friend that Elliot shares breakfast, lunch, and dinner with to keep his routine perfect.  At first glance the performance may seem mundane, but then you start to realize that’s the point. Leon is droning on and on about how he’s been watching Seinfeld for the first time, and that’s the revelation – he’s watching the one show that is notoriously about nothing, and Elliot is filling his life with nothing-things to keep himself busy.

The last thing I’ll comment on about this show is the cinematography.  I love it.  I think it’s beautifully shot.  The lighting is gorgeous and the camera movements are flawless.  BUT! This is a big but: the random composition needs to calm the hell down.  Now, I’m a huge fan of short-siding the frame, like so:

mr robot cine 2

This theoretically shows Scott Knowles stepping up to Tyrell, challenging him and by physically pushing him out of frame, pushing him out metaphorically as well.  I get it, and I dig it.

Now there’s this shot:

Mr Robot cine 1

This shot has no rhyme or reason to it.  “Oooh, look what we did,” they say.  The show is full of example #2’s and not enough of example #1’s.  I think the short-side-frame is beautiful; it’s different and edgy and can be powerful when used correctly.  Almost every shot in Mr. Robot is “edgy” but those edges are dull.

With that being said, Mr. Robot is a phenomenally written show with an amazing cast of actors that looks gorgeous and I highly suggest it.  Episode 3 of Season 2 premieres July 20th at 10PM EST on USA.

About the Author

Joel Reaves
Joel Reaves
Joel (Aka The LA Nerd) is an independent filmmaker and podcaster that loves comic books about zombies, really short walks to the bar, and redheads named MJ but he's definitely not Spider-Man so stop asking, okay? Jeez.



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